TestBash Manchester 2016

Hello all,

I had the pleasure of going to TestBash in Manchester and it was absolutely awesome! I left feeling so inspired and in love with QA and testing!

I wanted to share with you some of the ideas that there were talked about;

1)  The concept of social and critical distance was discussed, social distance being as implied; the distance between people affects the way in which we work. Critical distance is how different individuals’ opinions can be and the consequences of this. The idea of this is that we want to create an environment where we cultivate critical distance (i.e. we encourage it because a difference in opinion can create great ideas and it is a good habit to challenge and question the things we do rather than accept it) and we eliminate social distance because teams should be in a place where they are able to collaborate effectively and challenge one another rather than just trying to please others.

2) Shu Ha Ri – this comes from japanese martial arts as a way of thinking about learning techniques.

Shu – is that you begin by following a rule. You follow the processes that are already there so you can learn the basic concepts and get yourself started.

Ha –  you begin to break the rule. You begin to start to understand more deeply the techniques and principles behind a particular technology or practice.

Ri – you are the rule. You learn for yourself and are seen as independent. You create your own approaches and can adapt techniques to your own style.

The idea here is that people are usually always at different levels of learning and you have to adapt to this. For example, for someone who is quite junior it is enough for them to be content with just following what you tell them as they are still at an early stage. However someone who is quite experienced will usually want to try and understand the underlying principles of what you are trying to teach them to do and so you will need to take a different approach to teaching.

If you want to read more on this there is an article by Martin Fowler here: http://martinfowler.com/bliki/ShuHaRi.html


3) Another idea which I really liked was that shared documentation does not equal shared understanding. Pointing someone to a document that they can follow is not necessarily always the best way to share knowledge. This is because they have no context to what they are reading. It is always good to go through a document with someone as it will most likely be more effective rather than them just reading it and getting confused. Also, the danger with just reading documents is that people will make incorrect assumptions and can end up doing something that is completely wrong. People have different perceptions, speeds and languages in which their mind thinks.

4) And finally, there was a great presentation about not using scenarios as test cases. An automation strategy should be decoupled from the acceptance testing because it can get quite overwhelming. For example, you can have a scenario that can be something like given A, and B and C and D and E, then F…this should most certainly not be classified as a test as this doesn’t read well in code. Instead, we should segregate behaviour and test independently and then in e2e tests these ‘and’ descriptions will be in test setup.

There are a few others things which I’m going to write about in another post 🙂


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